GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Despite bearing the heavy toll of the pandemic, nurses are influencing future front-line workers to join their fight.

“Their courage is just unbelievable,” said Maia Manley, future nursing student. “I can’t wait to be standing alongside them, helping out.”

Manley’s on her way. She was just accepted into Grand Valley State University’s Kirkhof College of Nursing. Program officials say they have seen a 10% increase in applications since the start of the pandemic.

“I am someone that watches the news like every day — I always want to be the nurse holding the patient’s hand going through this really rough time,” said Manley.

Cynthia McCurren, dean of GVSU’s Kirkoff College of Nursing, attributes the uptick in applications to students like Manley, who are called to serve and those seeking financial stability.

“They do afford a sense of assurance that there will be positions and job security because health care will always be an ongoing need,” McCurren said.

Mccurren said the trend is felt nationwide.

“AACEN does not yet have nursing school enrollments data from fall 2020, but we will by mid-January. Anecdotally we are hearing that interest in nursing careers remains high, and schools are meeting their enrollment targets,” a spokesperson for the American Association of Colleges of Nursing told News 8.

Manley said she and her classmates hope to join other nursing students around the county, with hopes of making a difference.

“I can’t wait to join you guys someday,” Manley said.